London Lumiere Cocktail Trail

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One of the most popular events in London's calendar in January was the Lumiere London 2018 (read about the event in my extensive review here) installations of light-meets-art throughout various locations in the city. I spent my Thursday and Friday evenings visiting all of the locations. When it was clear that I would not make it to quite all of the installations before 10:30pm on Thursday night, I decided that I would need to return the following night. As an additional incentitive, I decided to purchase the London Lumiere Cocktail Trail. 


The cocktail trail included stops for three cocktails at a number of "Le Meridien" hotel locations along and near the installations. Cocktails could be enjoyed at one location or three separate locations. I went to three separate locations.


First stop for me was before the lights were switched on. I ended up at W Hotel, which is located between Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. I have actually been here (the name of the  tea room and bar area is called 'The Perception') before for their Fashion / Power Afternoon Tea. The staff had confusion over my cocktail trail voucher, so that did not put me off to a good opinion, and the special cocktail was not really Lumiere-inspired. It was called "London Lights" and tasted fruity, but the name was all it had for a reference to Lumiere. 


Leicester Square was host to "Nightlife" (by Jo Pocock and Lantern Company), a natural paradise of illuminated frogs, plants, butterflies and woodland creatures. 


Around the corner in Chinatown, visitors were greeted with "Flamingo Flyway" (by Lantern Company and Jo Pocock), a small group of flamingo birds that were orchestrated by volunteers to 'fly' above the crowds and occassionally say 'hello' to the children by looking down.


My next stop was Le Meridien Picadilly, and I went to "The Terrace" bar, which is located upstairs. The bar was empty except for one person, and the staff here were friendly. Again, the garnish did not look very 'illuminated', but it was the sole cocktail on the Lumiere menu. It had a fruity taste.


Piccadilly hosted several illuminations within a short walk. Across the street at St. James' Church was the beautiful and hyptnotising "Harmonic Portal" by Chris Plant, which changed colours and produced a humming sound. This ended up being one of my favourite installations. Tracey Emin's neon sign "Be Faithful to Your Dreams" was also located here as was "My Light is Your Light" by Alaa Minawi, featuring neon stick figures and which I'd now seen for a second year in a row.


Also at Piccadilly Circus was 'Voyage' by Camille Gross and Leslie Epzstein. This projection onto a building was charming and featured clocks, stars, and industry to celebrate the Industrial Revolution and time and space. It was one of my favourite installations.


Another installation close by at the Royal Academy was "Love Motion" (Rhys Coren), a Matisse-inspired animation projected onto the building and showing a couple dance and kiss to a slow-moving soundtrack.


From there, I headed up to King's Cross where I visited "The Booking Office" at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. This was very popular without a spare space in the room. I ordered the Lumiere cocktail, which was Lumiere-inspired this time and came with a green glowing bottle. The cocktail was mainly ice, however. 

After drinking the cocktail, I headed to King's Cross. Near this venue was the permanent installation, "IFO" by Jacques Rival. It is a giant birdcage with a seat in the middle, and it has rainbow colours that circle around it. 


TILT's "Lampounette" is also located here, and these giant desk lamps help create a coloured spotlight on the ground below.


"DOT" (Philippe Morvan) was one of the most popular pieces with crowds, and it featured rows of lights reacting to a soundtrack. 


King's Cross was possibly the star of the show in terms of interesting installations in a close area. The candy floss trail was brought back for the second time this year; basically, visitors could get a map and collect stickers to receive free candy floss with a glowing stick. This year, people were taking advantage of this, and there were less stickers/stamps to get when compared with the previous year. This year, the food market area was large and actually had a selection instead of just one "rave" tent. So, it was better than last year but also more busy. However, the crowds could be attributed to the fact that I was not able to get to King's Cross until Friday whereas I was able to complete the Lumiere trail in one evening the last year it was hosted.


Did you get to see any of the installations for Lumiere this year?

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